The Enchantment of the Winter Heart
Would it be okay to talk about the enchantment of the winter heart today? How about James Joyce’s idea of “aesthetic arrest.” And Woolf’s magic world. Let’s talk about radiance, and about a satisfactory day.
Let’s start with Woolf:
And then Joyce:
“The radiance of which he speaks is the scholastic quidditas, the whatness of a thing. The supreme quality is felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceived in his imagination. The mind in that mysterious instant Shelley likened beautifully to a fading coal. The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of esthetic pleasure, a spiritual state very like to that cardiac condition which the Italian physiologist, Luigi Galvani, using a phrase almost as beautiful as Shelley’s, called the enchantment of the heart.”
At the end of a day, I tend to ask myself, did you contribute something beautiful to the world? Just a little beauty. And, did you live strongly and quietly today? Was there magic, and did you stop for it? Did you attend?
And if you didn’t make anything beautiful, did you put yourself in the way of a little beauty? For that, too, is something. Did you peer into the “whatness of a thing” and sit with it? Did you allow for the enchantment of the heart?
It’s winter that I am currently enchanted by, this desire to capture its ever-changing beauty, the magic of snow and spareness. There is something about a day which contains falling snow that is so satisfactory, so entirely mesmerizing, so real.
What magic will you raise up today?
(You are required to make something beautiful).